Reese, Shailene, Melissa McCarthy or Penelope Cruz: who has the best ELLE cover?


Elle Magazine does its annual “Women In Hollywood” issue every November. The issue usually has multiple covers and cover ladies and Elle tries to do a variety (in ages, races, etc) of actresses. This year’s issue is devoted to Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Melissa McCarthy and Reese Witherspoon. Not-so-surprisingly, Melissa is my favorite and I LOVE the photo of her so much. I love Melissa with a big blow-out!! She looks sexy. Shailene is still pretty annoying and Reese is drunk whatever. I don’t really think Penelope is ever an interesting interview but holy hell is she beautiful. Look at her closeup cover – is she even wearing any makeup? So many freckles! Anyway, here are some highlights from the interviews:

Reese Witherspoon, on what inspired her to begin producing movies:
“I started noticing a couple years ago that I wasn’t seeing women as the stars of movies. I’m seeing them as the guys’ girlfriends, or so-and-so’s wife. I just thought: God, if I don’t start buckling down and start producing some movies, what’s my daughter going to see in the movies?”

Reese Witherspoon, on how her children changed her life:
“Somebody was saying to me the other day, ‘Oh, people get less interesting when they have kids.’ I just don’t think that’s true. I feel like I was so confused before I had kids, I almost got in my own way. Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter. I was a little competitive before I had kids- probably really competitive, to be honest. It really made me let go of that.”

Melissa McCarthy, on playing nontraditional female comedic leads:
“A lot of times, women have had all their tools taken away (in Hollywood comedies). It’s like you’re never inappropriate, you have the greatest job, you look great, your hair is amazing, and now go be funny. And it’s like, with what? You have to fall down for us to want to watch you get back up. And it’s like they never let you watch women fall down.”

Melissa McCarthy, on which comediennes she enjoys watching:
“I watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep and she is so good, because she is playing the world’s biggest a–hole narcissist, and yet you can’t take your eyes off of her. In fact, you still strangely like her and almost want to hang with her.”

Penelope Cruz, reflecting on her Hollywood stardom:
“The concept of a ‘star’ will always sound foreign and surreal to me because growing up in my country, you’re an actor, not a star.”

Penelope Cruz, on the best piece of career advice she’s ever received:
“How important it is to learn to say no. You’re going to have to put a lot of your time into a project, and you have to know if it’s something you really feel connected with, because it’s not a job you can do like you press a button- no.”

Shailene Woodley, on staying true to herself in Hollywood:
“There’s nothing like walking into a meeting and people expecting me to shake hands, and you hug them. For me, a hug is to disregard all of that bulls–t and be like, This is me, Shai. This is who I am. Now let’s talk about real situations. Let’s not talk about all this surface-level stuff.”

Shailene Woodley, on the next five years:
“I’m so young, and I’m single, and I just want to drift. I’m just going to be a drifter. I want to do something totally different before Insurgent [the second film in the Divergent trilogy]. Maybe I’ll work in a tea shop. Or live in Amsterdam. Or be a nanny. Life experience only helps us as actors. I need new experiences to draw upon.”

[From Elle]

“Now let’s talk about real situations. Let’s not talk about all this surface-level stuff.” Jeez, can’t we talk about superficial stuff for just a second? Like, how’s the weather? The humidity really dropped off, didn’t it? And now, let’s talk about how annoying it is that you hug every person you meet. You’re trying too hard, Shailene. There’s some under-the-surface stuff.

As for Melissa’s quotes… god, I love that woman. She’s amazing.





Photos courtesy of Nico & Thomas Whiteside/ELLE.

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72 Responses to “Reese, Shailene, Melissa McCarthy or Penelope Cruz: who has the best ELLE cover?”

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  1. Anna says:

    Penelope wins hands down, bc she comes across as a natural beauty. Reese’s cover looks very ‘try’ and too 1998 Cosmo. Shailene should be on a cover of SHAPE or in a high school yearbook. And MM’s rumpled coat and WTF hair make her look like a homeless person.

    • T.fanty says:

      Cruz’s cover is “stopped me in my tracks” beautiful. The others can’t even compete. McCarthy’s make up looks super pretty, and Witherspoon looks EXACTLY like she always does.

      And poor Shaline. That’s not so bad an interview, but when put against the others (even Witherspoon), she simply seems a little vacant and superficial. How old is she? She seems and looks SO young.

      • blue marie says:

        Agree with you both, I love that they didn’t airbrush her freckles out. She is beautiful.

        Melissa’s cover looks like it was ripped out of a Macy’s catalog.

      • MrsB says:

        I had NO idea that Penelope had freckles!! She is gorgeous. Her cover is definitely the best imo.

      • Spooks says:

        I love Penelope, but I don’t see the beauty. She looks like a turkey. Love the freckles.
        Melissa looks great, but is it just me, or did they make her look a lot thinner?
        Reese is meh, Woodley is super annoying.

      • bettyrose says:

        No dig on Shai but I’m continuously surprised at the jump she made from silly family channel show to movie stardom. She’s no JLaw in terms of glamour but she seems like a sensible kid… I.e. she’s no KStew either.

    • Liv says:

      Oh my gosh, Penelope is the most beautiful woman! Gorgeous!!

      And would “Shai” please stop being such an idiot? I really hope she doesn’t ruin Divergent for me. Ugh!

    • Decloo says:

      Yup. No question.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      No contest. Cruz for the win by a country mile.

    • T.C. says:

      The most beautiful one in the group is the one who posed with her natural face free of foundation: Penelope Cruz hands down. Melissa is too covered up like they do to all heavy set women and too much make-up, Reese too much make-up and photoshop, Shai looks like she’s getting ready for a high school swim competion and her interview makes her sound 15 years old.

    • Jen says:

      +1. I scanned through them and instantly liked Penelope’s the best. There’s a genuine beauty in its simplicity that just makes the others look like they’re trying too hard.

  2. Flahoola says:

    Hmm…I could be just cranky and picking a fight but it’s funny how all the slim girls are baring skin and Mellisa is covered in an over sized jacket?!!!

    • posh-toes says:

      I thought the same thing. Lets put the big in an even bigger jacket. I guess they didn’t have a duvet to throw over her head.

    • Stef Leppard says:

      At least her body is in the picture at all. I feel like whenever an overweight person is on the cover of a mag it’s always a close-up of her face (Gabourney Sibide, Adele), like god forbid the public be exposed to a body that isn’t skeletal! But yeah, I would like to see her in a more form-fitting outfit. Baby steps, I guess.

  3. Dawn says:

    I like them all. Has MM lost some weight or is just the cut of the coat? Either way they all look really good.

  4. Val says:

    Oh no Shailene forgot her pants for the photoshoot, ala Miley.

  5. Sixer says:

    Cruz then McCarthy and I don’t give a fig for the other two.

  6. Kate says:

    I don’t like Melissa’s hair at all, it’s very ‘Texas Oil Man’s Wife’ and it makes her look a decade older than she is, but I do love that coat. Great quotes from her too.

    Penelope looks great and I love that her forehead lines and freckles aren’t photo-shopped out. Reese’s cover looks like it’s from 2004. The pose, the dress, the styling, it’s all so dated. I like that Shailene looks her age on her cover.

  7. Tanguerita says:

    why is Shailene happening at all? She is pretentious, boring and not a good actress.

    • mkyarwood says:

      I don’t find Shailene pretentious or annoying YET. One could say the same about Darryl Hannah, I think, with her activist’s background. There is a huge resurgence in Native interests lately, and I like that she even thinks about connecting to nature at all. That being said, her interests could certainly evolve into something more obnoxious as she gains ‘wisdom’ with age.

  8. QQ says:

    McCarthy!! love the styling

  9. mkyarwood says:

    Penelope > Melissa > Shailene > Reese

  10. GiGi says:

    Penelope wins the cover war – Melissa’s interview is great, but I feel like her styling is crap for a cover.

  11. j.eyre says:

    I think they all look nice and, although they are not all at the top of my list of favorite people, it is a nice cross-section. These excerpts are pretty good too.

    Except for the hugging thing. I am not a hugger. I carry a cane in case I encounter a hugger.

  12. Tessa says:

    Penelope Cruz is a goddess. That is all.

  13. Suze says:

    In order:


  14. Kiddo says:

    Toss-up between Penelope or Melissa, for different reasons. The others are dull stock images.

  15. Chinoiserie says:

    I thnik they all look great and is nice that they have different looks. That said I would not put Melissa first because of that hair.

  16. Fred says:

    Shailene Woodley=#1

    • LeLe25 says:

      Yes! One other person agrees with me!! I think she is so beautiful, and I like that she talks about her interests which are unique in regards to Hollywood.

  17. anon says:

    YOU DIDN’T SHOW NAOMI HARRIS’S COVER!! She looks zoo good. Also I’m pissed at what they did to melissa…they just dumped her in a big coat…you can do better…give her a hot dress like these other women, and the hair, melissa is beautiful and they didn’t show it…

  18. Anna says:

    Is it crazy that I like Shailene? Who cares if she likes to hug people? I honestly think she’s just being real and although I don’t relate to her I’d rather read that than the things most actresses say. If I met Shailene I know what I’d talk to her about based on her interviews and I can’t say the same for most actresses in Hollywood

    • Lucy says:

      Agreed. I hate all the bashing towards her, and I don’t understand it at all. So what if she’s a little different from other actresses her age? Why being passionate about something makes her annoying? She has personality, isn’t a famewhore and has actual talent. Just give the girl a break.

      • T.C. says:

        Because she sounds like every obnoxious new age teenager in the world. She’s not as deep as she thinks she is.

  19. SamiHami says:

    Penelope looks truly fugly. I cannot stand that picture; it’s absolutely awful.

    I hate that they covered up Melissa; it’s like they want points for putting a big girl on the cover without actually putting a big girl on the cover.

    Shailene looks meh.

    So, it’s: Reese, Melissa, Shalene, anyone else in the rest of the world, then Penelope.

  20. Roxy says:

    Penelope is just a complete beauty. I have always thought so. She looks amazing on the cover. Melissa is second for me, and then Reese. That Shailene girl comes off as extremely boring, she’s pretty but I also find her looks slightly boring and very plain. Just my opinion.

  21. hadleyb says:

    Cruz has the best cover.

    I am so irritated that no magazine can give Melissa a good cover. You know they can, but never do. Too much makeup that she doesn’t need, or to big of hair, just bad clothes, styling and poses. WTF?

    Reese does look good but my intense dislike of her and her attitude turns me off the whole thing.

  22. Lola Lulu says:

    it pains me to say this but…I can relate to Reese’s statement about how having kids cleared up a lot of her own self-confusion. on a diff note, i want melissa mccarthy as my bff

  23. Anna Scott says:

    Penelope forever!!

  24. KB says:

    Reese Witherspoon is one of those people for me that it doesn’t matter what she says, I feel like it’s all BS if it’s coming out of her mouth. Also, her picture is straight out of a year 2000 romantic comedy.

    • Tania says:

      Agreed! She also needs to understand that people are sick of her and will avoid her movies. No one is going to run out to see a Reese Witherspoon movie. Unless she is a supporting character and just happens to be in a great movie.

  25. Tig says:

    I am hoping Shailene matures into a better actress, bec based on “The Spectacular Now” she has a ton of work to do. I think she is very cute, and her approach to life reflects her age, so it’s not annoying. The other three covers are OK- glad to see they didn’t photoshop them to death!

  26. Nicolette says:

    Melissa. Love Reese’s dress though. And who the heck is Shailene? Never heard of her.

  27. Butterfly J says:

    I don’t know why they styled her this way, but Melissa looks like Delta Burke. A lovely looking woman, but it’s too bad they didn’t make her look more like Melissa!

  28. Dyllish says:

    I love Shailene, I think she’s beautiful & a good actress. I know that’s not a popular opinion on this site & some think she’s boring cos she’s not out clubbing & making a mess of her life. BTW, Penelope is gorgeous…

  29. Lucy2 says:

    I like all of them but wish Shailene was wearing pants.

  30. Sarah says:

    How is Shailene even in the same sentence with the other 3? She’s a big powerful woman in Hollywood? As for covers – Cruz is the winner. Naturally gorgeous.

  31. S says:

    Melissa’s cover reminds me of Delta Burke on Designing Women… but in an awesome throwback, big hair, big clothes, southern, powerhouse way.

    Penelope is flawless.

  32. Juu says:

    Penélope owns it. Melissa McCarthy looks like she was pap’d while crossing the street.

  33. Marta says:


  34. Megan says:

    Is there actually a contest??


    I actually feel bad for the other contestants (except Melissa I adore her) that they have to share the “women in Hollywood” cover with her. She is a bombshell.

  35. Megan says:

    Also why are people trying so hard to make Shailene Woodley happen? I don’t find her acting to be extraordinary, she is very average looking, and from the interviews I read pretty annoying. My guess for the cover that sells the least copy’s is her.

    Although Witherspoon is tied with her for most annoying…

  36. I Choose Me says:

    Penelope ftw. I also like Shailene’s. Melissa hardly looks like herself on that cover and Reese’s pose on that cover is beyond awkward.

  37. Lauren says:

    I know this is against the CB zeitgest, but Reese is the one that caught my eye. Penelope I was distracted by the prominent freckles.

    • V says:

      I agree with you on Reese, I’m surprised so many people didn’t like her cover! To me she looks very sultry and effortless. I was automatically drawn to her cover . Penelope is a close second

  38. Emily C. says:

    I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter.

    Bah-hah! Well, Reese, you sure failed that one bigtime.

    Melissa looks great, but as she points out, looking great is absolutely meaningless in her career, and Hollywood demanding women always look great handicaps them. Do we remember Lucille Ball for standing around looking pretty?

  39. kellyinseattle says:


  40. Lenore21 says:

    OK. This is exciting. A full body shot of Melissa on a mainstream magazine is exciting. The fact that they draped her into a WWI wool overcoat is soooooooooo sad.

  41. jane16 says:

    I think Shailene is the most natural beauty here; although, she’s the youngest which gives her an advantage. The others look nice, and Penelope is certainly a beauty, altho why are her eyebrows so low over her eyes? Were they always that way? Thats a side effect of botox, as celeb women everywhere are discovering, to their horror. It makes eyebrows droop lower over time. Really unpleasant look. I’m glad I never let any of my friends talk me into it.

  42. moon says:

    Shailene is sounding a bit like KStew – pretentious and not that precocious.

    • Tania says:

      I actually think she was styled like KStew. And if it had been KStew in that photo we’d be all over her for having dirty greasy hair. But I guess Shai gets a free pass this time!

  43. Naddie says:

    Melissa. And Penelope… man, she does resemble a duck to me.